A Brief History
On December 21, 1936, the German concept of a “schnellbomber” that could outrun most fighter planes took to the air when the prototype Junkers Ju-88 made its first flight, achieving a speed of 360 mph. Today, we look at the major belligerents of WWII and their most produced 2 engine bomber, leaving you to tell us which one was best.
Germany, Junkers Ju-88: 15,183 were built with a 290 mph, top speed and 3100 lbs of bomb capacity internal, plus 3000 lbs of bombs external. Defense was provided by 5 x 7.92mm machine guns
Britain, Vickers Wellington: 11,461 were built with a 235 mph top speed and 4500 lbs of bomb capacity. Defense was provided by 6 or 8 .303 caliber machine guns.
USA, North American B-25 Mitchell: 9,816 were built with a 272 mph top speed and a 3000 lbs of bomb capacity. Offensive and defensive firepower included up to 18 .50 caliber machine guns, or also a 75mm cannon.
Japan, Mitsubishi G4M: 2,435 were built with a top speed of 266 mp and, about 2000 lbs of bombs capacity. Defensie was provided by 1 x 20mm cannon and 4 x 7.7mm machine guns.
USSR, Petlyakov Pe-2: 11,430 were built with a 360 mph top speed and 2205 lbs of bomb capacity. Defense was only 3 or 4 x 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine guns.
Italy, just to be different, used 3 engine bombers!
Question for students (and subscribers): Which WWII twin engine bomber was the best? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Goss, Chris. Junkers Ju 88: The Early Years: Blitzkrieg to the Blitz. Frontline Books, 2016.
Nijboer, Donald. Air Combat 1945: The Aircraft of World War II’s Final Year. Stackpole Books, 2015.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.